Auvergne (French pronunciation: [ovɛʁɲ] ( listen); Occitan: Auvèrnhe / Auvèrnha) is one of the 27 administrative regions of France. It comprises the four departments of Allier, Puy de Dome, Cantal and Haute Loire.
The current administrative region of Auvergne is larger than the historical province of Auvergne, and includes provinces and areas that historically were not part of Auvergne. The Auvergne region is composed of the following old provinces:
- Auvergne: departments of Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal, north-west of Haute-Loire, and extreme south of Allier. The province of Auvergne is entirely contained inside the Auvergne region
- Bourbonnais: department of Allier. A small part of Bourbonnais is also contained inside the Centre region (south of the department of Cher)
- Velay: centre and southeast of department of Haute-Loire. Velay is entirely contained inside the Auvergne region
- a small part of Gévaudan: extreme southwest of Haute-Loire. Gévaudan is essentially inside the Languedoc-Roussillon region
- a small part of Vivarais: extreme southeast of Haute-Loire. Vivarais is essentially inside the Rhône-Alpes region
- a small part of Forez: extreme northeast of Haute-Loire. Forez is essentially inside the Rhône-Alpes region
Velay, Gévaudan, and Vivarais are often considered to be sub-provinces of the old Languedoc province. Forez is also often considered to be a sub-province of Lyonnais province. Therefore, the modern region of Auvergne is composed of the provinces of Auvergne, major part of Bourbonnais, and parts of Languedoc and Lyonnais.
The region contains many volcanoes, although the last confirmed eruption was around 6,000 years ago. They began forming some 70,000 years ago, and most have eroded away leaving plugs of unerupted hardened magma that form rounded hilltops known as puys.